I don’t know what the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission did on Thursday counts as an Easter gift, but our state’s 20,000+ deep sea fishermen are looking ahead to the upcoming recreational red snapper season with a bow tied over a summer gift.
How about a continuation of a three-fish-a-day creel with a straight-through red snapper season starting May 26th — yes, no weekend-only days.
Instead, the season is open each day until Wildlife and Fisheries’ marine fisheries managers determine through LA Creel’s real-time data system that the new allocation of 934,587 pounds has been reached.
It’s that £934,587 that sparked the wide open season. The allotment is higher than £809,315 held for weekend-only opportunities last year and a figure that held until the end of 2022.
In order to meet the new quota, it was a wise decision to open the upcoming season to daily catches. Add 125,000 pounds to last year and it makes sense to fully try a species with enough fish to sustain any increased catch – and, depending on this year’s data, increase the daily limit to four next year.
Some of the rules remain the same this season as in previous years: there is a minimum size requirement of 16 inches to keep a red snapper and all fishermen must hold valid state and saltwater recreational licenses and a toll-free recreational offshore landing permit Fishing for and/or owning Red Snapper along with all other reef fish and most pelagic species.
The ROLP is available on the LDWF website: wlf.louisiana.gov.
However, if you are on a charter boat, the individual angler does not need a ROLP, but make sure the charter boat operator and skipper on government charter boats have one.
There are different rules for charter boats operating under state permits – they are limited to taking red snapper during the state charter season (it is distinct from the state season).
With the season just weeks away, recreational fishermen should become familiar with barotrauma reducing devices that, when used properly, will allow released red snappers to survive. For descent equipment information, see the LDWF website: wlf.louisiana.gov/page/barotrauma.